April 19, 2013 in Transaction Tracker
This will be a new weekly series on this blog looking at the signings and cuts from the previous week in the NFL. I hope you enjoy!
All of these moves are for depth purposes. Pollak is a former 2nd round pick who started 41 games for the Colts from 2008-2011. He was with the Panthers last season but only played in one game due to a shoulder injury.
Tuinei was signed to a reserve/future contract when the season ended but the former University of Oregon receiver is now out of a job without ever playing for the Bengals.
Before re-signing with the Bengals, Scott had a visit with the Oakland Raiders but decided to stay with the only team he has played for. Last season Scott tore his ACL and was only able to play in two games. In his Bengals career, he has 255 carries for 1,035 yards, and 4 touchdowns. He should battle for the number two running back spot in training camp.
The most important of these signings is Andrew Hawkins. He was an exclusive rights free agent so there never was any doubt that he would leave, it was just a matter of time until he signed his tender which is worth $555,000. Last season Hawkins played mostly in the slot and had 48 catches for 515 yards and 4 touchdowns in 13 games.
Like Hawkins, Jeromy Miles wasn't an unrestricted free agent. Unlike Hawkins, Miles was a restricted free agent who was tendered at his original round (UDFA). He has now signed that tender which is worth about $1.33 million. In the last two seasons, Miles has accumulated 39 tackles in 31 games, mainly on special teams.
Pittsburgh Steelers match New England Patriots RFA offer sheet for WR Emmanuel Sanders
Over the last few year, restricted free agency had become almost extinct in the NFL as nobody signed them to offer sheets. The Patriots broke this norm by signing Sanders to an offer sheet that was worth $2.5 million over 1 year. This gave the Steelers a week to match the offer which, after much debate, the Steelers decided to match the offer. One factor that could have been very important was quarterback Ben Roethlisberger wanted to keep Sanders.
Sanders was under an original round tender, which means the Patriots would have had to give up their 3rd round pick in this year's draft in return for Sanders who had 44 catches for 626 yards last year with 1 touchdown.
Thinking about this move, I went back and forth about whether the Steelers should match the offer or not. It would be nice to get another 3rd round pick in the draft but then again, the Steelers have been developing Sanders for the last few years and with the loss of Mike Wallace in free agency to the Dolphins. For the Steelers, I think it came down to the fact they didn't have much behind Sanders to replace him if he left, so they decided to match.
Seattle Seahawks sign CB Antoine Winfield
Continuing their great offseason, the Seahawks have signed veteran cornerback Antoine Winfield to a one year deal worth $3 million. Winfield drew lots of interest from teams after being cut by the Minnesota Vikings and decided to sign with the Seahawks, presumably, to try and win a Super Bowl.
With this signing, the Seahawks have done what some probably though was impossible by improving their secondary. Last season, the Seahawks showed that they have on of the best cornerback combinations in Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner and one of the best safety combinations in Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor.
Winfield will play as the Seahawks slot cornerback which will be a great fit for him. By playing as the slot corner, Winfield, who is 35, will play less snaps than ever before which will keep him fresh. It also will play to his strengths as he was the best cornerback against the run last year, according to Pro Football Focus.
I really like this signing for the Seahawks as it improves their defense even more and WInfield is only on a one year deal worth $3 million, so it isn't costing them much.
Green Bay Packers sign OLB Clay Matthews to a contract extension
In what is the most signing of the week, the Packers have signed star pass rush Clay Matthews to a contract extension. This extension is for five years and is worth about $66 million with about $31 million guaranteed. Based on money per year, this contract will make Matthews the third highest paid defensive player in the NFL behind Mario Williams and Julius Peppers (both also pass rushers). The difference between Matthew's deal and the ones for Williams and Peppers is that Williams and Peppers got their deals in free agency where prices usually get very high.
While dealing with injuries last season, Matthews played in only 12 games but was still able to record 13 sacks. In 58 career games, he has 42.5 sacks which is about 0.7 sacks per game which is very impressive.
Ever since being drafted in the first round by the Packers in 2009, Matthews has been impressive getting after the passer. He has shown that he is their defensive star and now he is in Green Bay to stay.
This deal had to get done for the Packers as Matthews was set to become a free agent after the season and the Packers never are very active in free agency so Matthews could have walked. The terms of this deal are fair as Matthews is a top tier pass rusher and at $13.2 million per year, he is being paid like one. Next up for the Packers is to give QB Aaron Rodgers a contract extension.
New York Jets re-sign OLB Calvin Pace
After cutting Calvin Pace in a salary cap move earlier this offseason, the Jets have brought him back on a cheaper deal. Last season Pace started at outside linebacker and played in all sixteen games for the Jets. He totaled 55 tackles, 3 sacks, and 1 fumble recovery for the Jets.
Since the Jets were well over the 2013 salary cap, they had to cut many veterans like Pace. Now that he is back on a one year deal, he will provide the Jets depth on a talent depleted roster. Getting Pace back on a one year deal is even more important when you look at their outside linebacker depth, which is almost non-existant. Assuming this deal is for the veteran minimum, or close to it, I like the signing as the Jets need the death. Expect them to address this position early in the draft though.
Cleveland Browns sign K Shayne Graham
Last season, with the Houston Texans, Graham went 31-of-38 on field goal, which is 81.6%, and didn't miss an extra point.
On the surface of things, it looks like the Browns kicker position is set but, I see it differently. For the 2010 and 2011 seasons, Graham could get a team to keep him around. The last full season he played (not counting last year) he converted only 82.1% of his field goals. In fact, Graham only has one career season where he converted more then 90% of his kicks (2007 at 91.2%).
Throughout his career, Graham has been a decent kicker but nothing more. Therefore, expect the Browns to get a good, undrafted rookie into training camp to challenge Graham. In fact, if the Browns like a kicker enough, they could draft one on day three of the draft.
Having a training camp competition at kicker is always a good idea, and since the Browns only gave Graham a signing bonus of $20,000, they can easily cut him and not worry about the consequences. Don't be surprised if Graham isn't the Browns kicker when the season starts.
Pittsburgh Steelers re-sign NT Steve McLendon
The Steelers have signed another on one of their restricted free agents. This time however, they signed him before another team was able to make an offer.
On Wednesday, McLendon visited with the Green Bay Packers. Before the Packers had a chance to offer him a contract, the Steelers were able to re-sign him. McLendon had been given an original round tender and since he was undrafted, the Steelers would have had the right of first refusal as they can't receive a draft pick.
McLendon's new contract is worth a maximum of $7.25 million over 3 years and received a signing bonus of $1.675 million. He cap hit for this season will be $1.4 million and under the tender it would have been $1.323 million so the Steelers aren't really affecting their cap room with this move.
I like this move for the Steelers as they are able to keep an underrated NT at a cheap price. Plus, if he McLendon had signed an offer sheet with the Packers, the cap hit for 2013 would have been higher than the $1.4 million it is under this contract.
The San Diego Chargers sign TE Dallas Walker.
The Philadelphia Eagles release QB Trent Edwards.
The Green Bay Packer sign WR Sederrick Cunningham.
The Carolina Panthers cut LB Kenny Onatolu.
The Seattle Seahawks waive DE Dexter Davis.
The Chicago Bears sign G Eben Britton.
The Washington Redskins waive CB Korey Lindsey.
The New York Jets sign K Derek Dimke and P Ryan Quigley.
The Cincinnati Bengals sign TE Alex Smith.
The Detroit Lions re-sign DE Willie Young and sign WR Brian Robiskie.
The Baltimore Ravens sign QB Caleb Hanie (longer story here).
The New Orleans Saints sign QB Seneca Wallace.
The Kansas City Chiefs sign LB Akeem Jordan and sign LB Zac Diles.
The St. Louis Rams re-sign re-sign QB Kellen Clemens.
The San Francisco 49ers sign TE Cam Morrah.
The Kansas City Chiefs sign LB Orie Lemon.
The Jacksonville Jaguars sign DE Pannel Egboh.
The Chicago Bears cut OL Chris Riley.
The Buffalo Bills sign RB Frank Summers.
The Buffalo Bills sign LB Kourtnei Brown.
The Dallas Cowboys cut WR Donavon Kemp.
The New England Patriots cut NT Myron Pryor.
The Jacksonville Jaguars sign S Chris Banjo.